PWC Tax Bills Will Soon Be On Their Way Up…

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors will vote tomorrow, April 23, on the FY 2014 tax rate.  A resolution has already been drafted setting the rate at $1.181 per $100, which amounts to an average tax hike of 2.3 percent.  There is much flowery language included in an attempt to provide a fig leaf here (“lowest tax bill”, “lowest tax burden”, “efficient and effective governance”, etc.), but the bottom line is people’s taxes are going up.

On top of that, the tax rate itself is among the HIGHEST in Northern Virginia (to make up for the home values which are well-below where they should be.)  Since this resolution singled out Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun, let’s look at their current tax rates.

City of Alexandria – $0.998 per $100

Arlington County – $0.971 per $100

Fairfax County – $1.075 per $100

Loudoun County – $1.205 per $100

Prince William County – $1.209 per $100*  (that does not include the $0.0744 for Fire and Rescue Levies nor the ​$0.0025 Gypsy Moth Levy, which if added together would bring PWC’s tax rate up to $1.2859 per $100 – the other listed localities do not hide their true property tax rates behind additional levies.)

Only Loudoun’s is even close (and that is before you add the fire, rescue, and gypsy moth levies.)  But wait!  The Loudoun BOCS is poised to cut the average property tax bill by 2% in FY 2014.

The board voted, 5 to 2, to direct county staff members to prepare a budget based on a real property tax rate of $1.20 per $100 of assessed value, a rate that would lower property tax bills by about 2 percent.

Well, what about Stafford County?  They surely must have a higher property tax rate since their home values should be lower the Prince William County, right?  Wrong.

Stafford County – $1.07 per $100.

Furthermore, as the Sheriff of Nottingham blog points this out about PWC:

A Flat Tax bill would have still increased the tax bill on 54% of homeowners because of appreciation of the value of their homes, so the hidden tax increases are embedded in even budget proposals that claim to hold tax bills at the same rate as the previous year.

Apparently that isn’t good enough for what will likely be a majority on the Board when the votes are counted tomorrow.

Well, there is another resolution that people should be aware of (and in full disclosure, I am the author of it.)  Last month, the Prince William County Republican Committee adopted this at its convention:

A RESOLUTION RELATING TO
THE PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY FY 2014 BUDGET AND PROPERTY TAX RATE

WHEREAS, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors have voted to advertise a maximum real estate tax rate of $1.196 per $100 assessed for FY 2014 that would result in an average increase of 3.53% on homeowners; and

WHEREAS, general property taxes are growing exponentially faster than the county’s population; and

WHEREAS, our residents are struggling financially, cutting back on life’s extras as their paychecks shrink and gas prices soar; and

WHEREAS, county government needs to learn lessons from the family budget; and

WHEREAS, the county has managed to secure an average surplus of $31.4 million per year over past six fiscal years that is then spent each August during the so-called “carry over” process; and

WHEREAS, this averages out to nearly $75 for every one of the 419,006 men, women and children that the last U.S. Census determined are living in the county or $300 for the average family of four; and

WHEREAS, the county’s unmet critical needs could be taken care of by these annual surpluses; and

WHEREAS, many of these core services remain underfunded while we handout money to equestrian centers and museums, not to mention performing arts centers that are supposed to be self-sufficient, but for which county taxpayers now find themselves on the hook indefinitely;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Prince William County Republican Committee hereby calls upon the Board of County Supervisors to adopt a tax rate of $1.154 that will result in the average property tax remaining level from FY 2013 to FY 2014; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Prince William County Republican Committee calls upon the Board of County Supervisors to prioritize spending to fully fund the core functions of local government before it allocates any funding for other items; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Prince William County Republican Committee calls upon the Prince William Board of County Supervisors to institute “Accountability Budgeting” whereby clear measurable goals are set, progress is verified, and adjustments are made as necessary based upon what works and what does not work.

Keep in mind, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors has a 6-2 GOP majority on it. Well, that is if you count people who only seek the nomination of the Republican Party strictly out of political convenience even if they do not follow the party’s most basic tenets. (I believe the appropriate term here is “RINO.”)

County Chairman Corey Stewart, a candidate for the GOP nomination for Lt. Governor at next month’s Republican state convention, has fought a battle alongside freshman supervisor Pete Candland of Gainesville to pass a flat tax bill budget and protect tax payers.  They’ve even managed to bring endangered incumbent Wally Covington around on this, even if it is out of political necessity and not deep-seated conviction.

I’m sure that the county board hiking taxes, even if he votes against it, is the last thing that Corey wants less than a month before the nominating convention.


11 thoughts on “PWC Tax Bills Will Soon Be On Their Way Up…

  1. It’s shocking that even Fairfax has much lower rate than Loudoun and Prince William County, two counties controlled by republicans! Fairfax has a democrat board and they are way behind us on taxes!

    I have been very pleased to see the Loudoun BOS cut our taxes last year and again this year. I would expect no less from a republican board of supervisors. Our tax rate is still too high, but headed in the right direction while PWC appears to be headed in the wrong direction!

    1. Fairfax can have a lower tax rate because the average home is valued more, so their tax bills will still be higher. You are right, though, that PWC and Loudoun are going in opposite directions with one hiking the tax burdern while the other is reducing it.

    1. Exactly. But a home the same value as yours in Fairfax would not be the same size, layout, property, etc. there. It would be smaller on a smaller lot.

    2. I am well aware of that! We could never afford our house in Fairfax! Nor would it have the views that we have or the acres of land. Those things don’t exist in Fairfax. It’s all about tradeoffs. But a higher tax rate stinks, wherever you are.

  2. C’mon Jim……….the “Highest tax rate” matter is a lie as old as the hills………you know what really matters is: What is the bottom line……..how much in real dollars…………and in that calculation…………we are the lowest among principal northern virginia jurisdictions………..and we are typically the lowest per capita in the major services……..among the largest classroom sizes………….there are bills and they need to be paid……and “conservatives” who continually to rail against high taxes without talking about the other side of the ledger……………paying the bills…………..are empty suits…………have a good day!!!

    1. But we are only the lowest because our home values are in the tank thanks to poor policies implemented by this Board. Our home values lag others in our area. There is nothing false about stating our tax rate is the highest in the area. In fact, I provide the evidence above.

      If you want to talk real dollars, which I do, the average tax bill in the county is going up by 2.3% (and many will go up by more than that as the housing market in the county begins to improve.) Meanwhile, Loudoun County is CUTTING their average tax bill by 2%. We are going in the wrong direction here.

      Yes, bills need to be paid, but we need to prioritize our spending. We should junk the ridiculous revenue sharing agreement that UNDERFUNDS our schools and ask the School Board to bring the county a budget that decreases class sizes and increases teacher pay while doing away with ridiculous things like “substitute principals” when a principal is absent, but a vice principal is present. We need to make sure that our police, fire, and rescue services are fully staffed before we even think about funding equestrian centers, museums, and performing arts centers (all of which should be funded by the private sector / personal contributions anyway.)

    2. But what is the bottom line in PWC and Loudoun?? Not how much one rate goes up and down in a given year? And funding of substitute principals, art and equestrian centers? Arent these nickel and dime items? They add up to nothing in a $2.0 trillion budget………..and dont forget, a lot of the nickel and dime items – Blue Bird Buses – are for our elderly who have paid taxes for 40 years and want a few pennies back to help fund their activities……….keep the big picture Jim!!!!!

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